Live-in care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

07 May 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put UK social care in the spotlight like never before. It is now widely acknowledged that social care providers are on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19), and equal to the NHS in terms of the breadth of care that is being provided, although the true extent of infection rates and deaths remains a matter of conjecture.

The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK
(Data based on figures released on 5 May 2020)

Initially, the death toll from coronavirus (COVID-19) was based on people who died in hospital following a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) test, with this figure exceeding 20,000 during April. However, at the end of April statistics were published for the first time that included deaths in all settings, and by the time we reached 5pm on 4 May 2020, the government’s figure for coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in all settings stood at 29,427, making the UK’s death toll the highest in Europe.

 

This rate is only counting people who have died following a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test however, and the final coronavirus (COVID-19) death toll will depend upon coronavirus (COVID-19) being mentioned on death certificates. A truer picture of the real impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) may be seen in what is known as ‘excess’ deaths , which compares the number of deaths previously seen at this time of year with what is happening during this pandemic.

 

The numbers of UK coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths are updated daily, so please see the government website for the latest figures.

 

The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on care home residents

Of all social care providers, care homes have had the greatest burden of illness and death due to the nature of communal living and shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE). To determine the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on care homes, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have collected data that has been collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) into a weekly update of English care home death figures related to coronavirus (COVID-19). On 5 May 2020, the ONS published statistics that said:

  • From 10 April to 1 May, 6391 people are believed to have died in English care homes from deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19).

Note: This statistic is based on a provisional death count in care homes, and comes from the statutory notification of deaths that care home operators are required to provide to the Care Quality Commission. These are deaths that have happened in care homes only, not where residents have gone into hospital, and figures may be underestimated due to notification delays.

Clearly these are very alarming figures for families whose loved ones are living in care homes, with the BBC publishing this article, ‘Coronavirus: How big is the problem in care homes?’ to illustrate the key issues. With the scale of this unfolding tragedy yet to be fully understood, families are feeling very frightened, with reports such as this one from the Daily Record in Scotland attributing 40 per cent of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in South Lanarkshire to care home residents. The Guardian have also reported that some families are seeking legal advice as they look to remove their loved ones from care homes.

Caring for vulnerable, older and disabled people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Whilst statisticians will debate the figures, what is very clear is that with social care providers supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society, many families are acutely worried about ensuring their loved ones have the support they need and are kept as safe and well as possible during this pandemic.

Although in the UK many families automatically turn to care homes and home care (domiciliary care) when they have a loved one requiring additional support, live-in care has increasingly emerged as a desirable alternative due to its extensive benefits.

Moreover, during this pandemic live-in care is arguably the safest option for anyone needing support who is older, disabled or living with one or more health condition(s). It is also an affordable choice, something that the Live-in Care Hub wrote about in their 6 April blog:

“Live-in care is a safe and cost-effective alternative to discharging people into a care home, at a time when the risks of cross-transmission within care homes are becoming a great concern. Live-in care mitigates these risks at a comparable price to a nursing home bed.”

 

The benefits of live-in care

At its heart, the key benefit of live-in care is how personalised it is. A live-in carer focuses solely on the person they are supporting, and is able to form a trusting, empathetic relationship with that individual which is hugely beneficial for the person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Other key benefits of live-in care include:

  • The person remaining in their own home, surrounded by familiar possessions.
  • The person continuing to live with their partner and/or pet(s) if this is applicable to them.
  • Support that is tailored around the person’s own routine, rather than fixed around a provider’s schedules.
  • Support for the person’s independence, choice and control, including aspects like autonomy over the running of their home, and the ability to continue to choose what they personally enjoy eating and what they want to do with their time.
  • The maintenance of the person’s privacy and dignity in a way that is unique to their home environment and cannot be replicated in a communal establishment.
  • Continuity of care rather than a revolving door of care workers.
  • The ability to move between different levels of care, with everything from companionship to complex and end-of-life care, all provided in the person’s own home without disruption to the individual.
  • Expert support for specific conditions including:
  • Reduction in loneliness due to the companion support of a live-in carer, and particularly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a focus on ensuring that the potential negative effects of the required social isolation are mitigated against.
  • Care workers who often have many years of experience as well as access to ongoing training and professional development.
  • Peace of mind for family members and a single point of contact to liaise with.

How Promedica24 is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Because we only provide live-in care with care workers who work for up to three months at a time with each client, early in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we were able to ensure that all of our clients were successfully isolating at home with their live-in carer, minimising the risk of either our clients or care workers contracting coronavirus (COVID-19). Although travel has been disrupted across Europe as the pandemic has intensified, we have not had any issues with transporting our care workers and we remain able to source as many care workers as we require.

Our infection rates amongst our clients and care workers are very low, with only one suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a client, who successfully self-isolated with their live-in care worker and fully recovered. This is a fantastic example of how effective live-in care is during the unprecedented pandemic situation we are all facing. It is also testimony to both the model of care we provide and the high levels of attention to detail and commitment to keeping our clients and care workers safe that runs throughout all of Promedica24’s services.

You can trust Promedica24 during this pandemic

With most of our clients and live-in care workers successfully isolating well before the peak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we haven’t faced the challenges of cross-contamination or the impact of personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages that have severely affected other social care providers. On the occasion where we needed to support a person with a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19), our care worker had access to full PPE and direct support to ensure that all recommended policies and practices were followed.

We have long-established infection control processes in place to ensure that all of our clients are kept as safe and well as possible all-year round, and these have been reviewed and augmented during this pandemic to ensure we are doing the maximum possible for all of our clients and care workers. Families accessing our services today can be assured that there is no safer option for care and support for their loved ones in the UK at the present time.

How Promedica24 can support you and your family

If you or a loved one have care and support needs, please contact us to find out more about how Promedica24 can provide you with the support and peace of mind you need during these unprecedented times.

You can find out more about our services by visiting our website: https://www.promedica24.co.uk, getting in touch with our team on 0800 086 8686 or emailing: care@promedica24.co.uk. As an initial starting point, you may also wish to use our online Care Assessment Tool to determine the level of care you or your loved one may need.


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